The fiercely contested by-elections in Mpembeni under the City of Umhlathuze (Richards Bay-Empangeni) in northern KwaZulu-Natal got rowdy and heated when supporters of the ANC and the IFP exchanged heated words at the gates of one of the voting stations.
That happened on Wednesday around 1pm when one of the provincial leaders of the ANC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, wanted to access the Mkhobosa voting station.
Dube-Ncube is the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and a provincial working committee member of the ANC in the province.
That did not sit well with supporters of the IFP who blocked the entourage of the leader shouting “Go away, let him go away”.
According to a video shared with IOL from the ground, the police battalion stationed at the gates of the voting station had a tough time trying to separate the two sides who shouting and pushing each other.
It was not immediately clear whether Dube-Ncube was able to enter the contested voting station or not.
Both the ANC and the IFP had not yet commented about the incident.
Mpembeni (Ward 13) is hosting fiercely contested by-elections after a former councillor of the ANC, Lindo Ndlovu survived an attempt to kill him in July and later resigned.
If the IFP wins the ward, it will increase its tally of seats in the council and tighten its grip on the municipality it won from the ANC through a coalition with the DA, ACDP and Freedom Front Plus in November 2021.
If the ANC wins the ward, it would redeem its dented pride as Mpembeni is its stronghold, together with Esikhawini and Madlankala (which it lost to the IFP last year).
Ahead of the by-elections, the two parties flexed their muscles by holding separate massive Siyanqoba (victory) rallies.
The IFP held its final rally on Sunday and it was addressed by its President, Velenkosini Hlabisa.
Hlabisa said they are a trusted brand when it comes to clean governance and asked the people of Mpembeni to give them an opportunity.
On Monday the ANC held its Siyanqoba rally and it was addressed by Siboniso Duma, the provincial chairperson.
Duma was adamant that victory is certain for the ANC as it is still a trusted brand when it comes to service delivery.